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Audiophiles stoked over new record store

Record stores in Edmonton may lose some of their out-of-town customers as Sunrise Records is set to open a new location in St. Albert Centre.
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Former St. Albert resident Mattie Cuvilier hopes the new Sunrise Records location in the city will help the music community thrive. SUPPLIED/Photo

Music lovers will soon have a new place to shop as the Canadian chain outlet Sunrise Records is set to open a location in St. Albert Centre.

In a Sept. 12 Instagram post, the manager of specialty leasing for St. Albert Centre, Joshua Thomas, said, "The secrets's out!!!"

"We could not be more excited!!! Stay tuned as we gear up for their opening on [Oct.1]."

For local record collector and Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission employee Jessica Chapman, it's about time a record store opened in the city.

“It’s really exciting to see something new and something that’s popular with the younger generation come to the mall,” Chapman said in an interview. "As a record collector as well, I’m excited to have a place that’s just down the street that I can go to buy some new vinyls.”

Currently, Chapman makes the trip to stores such as Freecloud Records and the Old Strathcona Antique Mall in Edmonton to add to her collection, which she has been working on for about 10 years, she said.

“I think [Sunrise Records] will definitely be another reason for me to go to St. Albert Centre. It will definitely draw me to the mall more than it has previously.”

Another collector, Kristen Schartner, said she thinks having a new record store in the city will benefit the entire arts community.

"I find St. Albert is great with their culture and their arts, but sometimes when it comes to music and the availability of certain merchandise, it can be hard and challenging to find,” Schartner said.

She also mentioned that the Old Strathcona Antique Mall is a personal favourite destination to go for additions to her collection, which she has been building for nearly 25 years.

“We haven’t had a record store in the city for quite a few years," she said. "Having another record store in the city is definitely beneficial.”

Although in varying capacity, records are currently sold at stores such as London Drugs, Chapters, and Value Village, but Musée Heritage Museum archivist Vino Vipulanantharajah says the first business to possibly stock vinyl records in St. Albert dates back to the 1950s.

"There was a store called Roger’s Radio Shop on Mission Avenue [that] likely started in [the] late 1940s to 1950s by Roger Lafranchise," Vipulanantharajah said in an email. "He was known for providing musical entertainment for local functions using his records.

"I’m not sure if he sold them in his store as well."

Vipulanantharajah mentioned that Alberta Radio and TV Ltd., which operated under that name in Grandin Mall from 1967 to 2014, also sold records over the years. 

For former St. Albert resident and longtime musician and concert organizer Mattie Cuvilier, having a record store is an excellent, and foundational, way to build a community.

"For young people, and for whatever aged people, you want to feel like there’s somewhere that you fit in and where your interests are shared with other people," Cuvilier said. "If you’re really into music, you want to meet other people that have heard that stuff, not just what’s on the radio or what’s popular, but those hidden gems that only another music fan can expose you to.

“Record stores are great places to meet those people."

Cuvilier, who worked at the CD Plus in St. Albert Centre around 2004, said he hopes the Sunrise Records location is successful, as it has the potential to bolster youth creativity.

“I know for a fact there’s a lot of musicians in St. Albert," said Cuvilier, who has been booking concerts since the late 1990s. "St. Albert has this resource of having creative kids — on one hand, they have great musical programs at the schools … but it’s more than being able to play.

"You need to get your taste from somewhere; you need to make your community contacts; you need to see it and feel it and be brought into it," he said.

“It can be difficult to find that stuff on your own, and if you don’t have an entry point to that community, it might not happen.”

Sunrise Records did not respond to The Gazette's interview request. The company opened its first location in Toronto in 1977, and there are currently three locations in Edmonton.

Jack Farrell

About the Author: Jack Farrell

Jack Farrell joined the St. Albert Gazette in May, 2022.
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